The Eagles don’t need to qualify a 31-13 victory over Buffalo in which they slowly exerted their will and wound up completely dominating by the end. Sure, the Bills probably aren’t as good as their record, but a win is a win, especially on the road.
In terms of our report card, we did grade on a bit of a curve, though not necessarily based on the quality of the opponent. Rather, it’s because of the weather. While the numbers weren’t all awesome, particularly on offense, the weather was definitely wreaking havoc out there — more on that in the grades.
Carson Wentz: 17/24, 172 YDS, TD, 8 CAR, 35 YDS
In some ways this was arguably Wentz’s best game of the season. He was efficient, completing 70.8 percent of his passes for 7.2 yards per attempt in a wet, windy conditions, and he didn’t turn the ball over. And when the Eagles had the opportunity to put the Bills away in the fourth quarter, Wentz coverted two third downs with his legs to keep the chains moving, including a 3rd-and-11.
Miles Sanders: 3 CAR, 74 YDS, TD, 3 REC, 44 YDS
Sanders may leave some yards on the field, but he collected all of them on his 65-yard touchdown run right through the heart of the Bills defense — with a tremendous lead block from Jordan Howard, too. Howard added 96 yards and a score on 23 carries, plus a 15-yard reception, and Boston Scott pitched in with a four-yard touchdown run.
Wide receivers and tight ends
Alshon Jeffery: 4 REC, 64 YDS
Dallas Goedert scored the group’s lone touchdown, with the tight end’s five-yard scoring play part of a three-catch, 22-yard day. Zach Ertz only had only two receptions for 20, while Nelson Agholor had four for just seven. Here’s the thing, though: while not overly productive, the Eagles caught the ball when it came their way. And, not to belabor the point about the weather, but there actually would’ve been an excuse to drop the ball.
Absolutely dominated a quality Bills defense, especially as the game went on. The Eagles ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 5.3 per attempt, and while Wentz was sacked three times — at least one of which was the result of holding the ball too long — the quarterback was only hit five times total in 28 dropbacks.
Brandon Graham: 6 TKL, 2 TFL, SK, FF, FR
The pass rush was inconsistent, and one 14-yard touchdown pass was partly the result of allowing the quarterback to break contain. Yet, when Graham and Fletcher Cox did get home, the results were big plays — Graham with a forced fumble and recovery that led to six points and a drive-ending sack, Cox also with a drive-ending strip sack and another pressure that resulted in a loss. Derek Barnett also registered a half-sack, forced fumble and three quarterback hits.
Nate Gerry: 6 TKL, TFL, SK
Gerry had the numbers, but T.J. Edwards also had four tackles and should’ve been credited with a forced fumble on a play where he caught the ball carrier from behind and knocked it free as the play went out of bounds. It wasn’t a turnover, but you really haven’t see these types of high-awareness, effort plays enough from Eagles linebackers this season.
Malcolm Jenkins: 6 TKL, TFL, PD
No exactly the most potent downfield attack, but the Eagles still limited the Bills to a 47.1 completion percentage and 5.0 yards per pass attempt. Ronald Darby also came up with a pass breakup on fourth down. Now, it’s unclear why the defensive backs couldn’t make a stop on 3rd-and-forever until the fourth quarter, but take away one third-quarter scoring drive and the unit was solid.
Jake Elliott: 1/1 FG, 1/2 XP
A tough kicking day for Elliott and Cameron Johnston (two touchbacks) can be forgiven due to the elements. Boston Scott’s fumble, on the other hand, is inexcusable, even if fielding the punt was no easy task. That's the lone knock on a unit which blocked an extra point.
Eagles’ record: 4-4
Not everything Doug Pederson drew up worked, but the head coach deserves credit for devising a creative game plan, especially considering some of the limitations the wet, windy weather imposed. Jim Schwartz needs to figure out the third-down defense, as it’s really embarrassing for the Eagles to have so many conversions of eight yards or more occurring on a regular basis. Overall, this was a gritty, bounce-back win for a team that’s been on the wrong end of a lot of humiliations over the previous couple weeks, so that in itself was a success for this staff.
Even if the Bills really aren’t very good.
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